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How best to carry out the risk assessment of your car wash

A risk assessment is the basis for the legally prescribed occupational health and safety regulations. Once your car wash has been set up and installed by skilled personnel, your next task is to check the safety relevant equipment. Professionals who are entitled to do so are now called "competent persons", whereas in the past they were simply called "experts". You cannot therefore carry out the risk assessment on your own.

What is the function of risk assessment?

In short, for the risk assessment you determine at which workstations your employees will be working or where the customers will be and what form of danger can emanate from the individual positions. The severity of the risk is assessed and evaluated, and measures are then taken to eliminate or minimise it. This ensures that neither your employees nor your customers suffer any harm.

Prevent accidents in the car wash

In car washes, there can be shearing or crushing points between different parts of the system. It is the job of the professionals to cover or hide them so that they no longer pose a risk. In places where the floor may become slippery due to detergents, a specific floor covering must be used to reduce the risk of slipping. Careful signage and information about possible tripping hazards on the floor are further aids to avoid accidents. The employees working in the yard of the car wash, should wear high-vis jackets or brightly coloured vests.

Protection against chemicals and contamination

The employees responsible for the washing process can come into contact with either dirty water or water containing cleaning chemicals during the course of their work. Both could irritate the skin and mucous membranes or the eyes. Accordingly, the protective clothing of these employees consists of water-repellent work clothing, closed safety goggles, a face mask as well as gloves and rubber boots.

To prevent skin irritation, you should have disinfectants, detergents and care products ready. It goes without saying that a hygienic washroom should be available. It is also important that a bottle for eye rinsing is always ready to hand. Create a hygiene plan that your employees can go by.

You should carefully store chemicals such as detergents or water conditioning agents in their original packaging – far away from break rooms and from food or medicines. You should keep the safety data sheets for the chemicals ready to hand and inform all employees where to find them.

Employee training is important

The best plans to prevent risks in the workplace are useless if you do not thoroughly train your employees. The dates, which should be scheduled once a year (every six months for young employees), will tell your employees everything about the possible dangers and how to avoid them, such as

  • who works where and when and who is not exposed to which situations in the first place
  • what the appropriate hygiene measures are and that they are mandatory
  • that the break rooms or public rooms should not be entered with protective clothing
  • how and how often the protective clothing is to be cleaned
  • who carries out which checks when and documents them
  • how to ventilate properly
  • the correct way to behave in the event of breakdowns or accidents
  • how first aid works

Summary: Better safe than sorry

The professional risk assessment prevents accidents and infections on the premises of your car wash. It highlights the dangerous situations that can arise. Therefore, take appropriate measures to avoid or improve these situations. In most cases the solution is obvious and can be implemented through simple physical measures. However, it is almost always important for your employees to stick to certain rules. You should therefore communicate these to them from the outset and keep them fresh by repeating them regularly. Plans and guidelines make it easier for your employees to follow the rules.

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